Freudian Motivation Theory

Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Aug 27, 2020

What is the Freudian Motivation Theory?

Freudian motivation theory exhibits unconscious psychological forces mould an individual's behaviour affecting his purchasing patterns. These include hidden desires and motives of such individuals.

Freudian motivation theory is commonly applied to various disciplines to help understand the consumer's motivations towards their purchasing decisions. It explains the sales process in terms of a consumer fulfilling conscious, operative needs as well as unconscious needs.

The theory was conceptualised by Sigmund Freud, who was a doctor and studied psychoanalysis as well.

Understanding Freudian Motivation Theory

Freud claimed that the human psyche could be classified into the conscious and unconscious mind. There are three components - id, ego and the superego.

The ego, which represents the conscious mind, is made up of thoughts, memories, judgments, and feelings. It gives a person their sense of identity and personality. The id, indicating the unconscious mind, is the biologically determined senses that someone holds since birth.

At last, the superego represents the moderating portion of society's traditional morals and taboos, where it is usual that every person does not act on impulse.

These approaches help market researchers determine why a consumer made a particular purchase by centring on their conscious and unconscious motivations, along with the weight of societal expectations.

The Freudian motivation theory describes the sales process regarding three parameters:

  • Consumer fulfilling conscious
  • Functional needs, such as lock to a house
  • Unconscious needs, such as the fear of being intruded despite the security measures

For example, a salesperson trying to sell furniture to a consumer may enquire if it's his first home lived by the consumer on his own. If the consumer replies yes, this may aid the salesperson to insist on which piece of furniture is a comfortable choice and makes it homely.

Application of the Freudian Motivation Theory

When companies want to calculate the success probability for a new product, they will list down the market researchers who can discover the hidden motivations of a sample group of consumers. It will help them to determine what reason triggered a particular buying habit. They may use several techniques to discover such more profound implications, such as role-playing, pictographs, sentence completion, and word association.

Such tasks can help researchers know about how consumers react to products and how to best exploit them as a result. For instance, buying a specific computer brand can make a person feel talented, successful, productive, and reputed. Marketers can utilise this information to redefine brand identity.